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What is “cap-gap”?

Where an employer subject to H-1B cap properly files H-1B petition requesting an October 1 start date and a timely change of status on behalf of an F-1 student, student’s F-1 status and employment authorization (if in Optional Practical Training) is automatically extended until September 30, thus eliminating the “gap” between the time the F-1 status would have expired and the October 1 start date of H-1B status. If the H-1B petition is not filed before the OPT expires, the student may not be empoyed again until October 1. Cap-gap does not apply to cap-exempt H-1Bs.

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.  We simplified the law to provide general information about one aspect of H-1B visa.  If you would like to discuss if you qualify for the cap-gap or need help obtaining H-1B visa, schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer in Phoenix at www.calendly.com/irena-3 TODAY or call our office at 480-425-2009! We look forward to talking with you!

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What is STEM OPT and who qualifies for it?

Foreign students with student visas (F-1) may be eligible for 12 month of standard Optional Practical Training (OPT) at each higher educational level (one 12-month period at BA level then another at MA level). OPT must be directly related to the student’s major area of study. OPT allows F-1 students get a work authorization in the United States.

STEM OPT is a form of OPT after the course of study is completed. Science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) students can qualify for STEM OPT if they have a degree in a STEM field or as part of a dual-degree program. The STEM subject must be the F-1 student’s major or dual major. A STEM student may be allowed a 24-month extension beyond the initial 12 months of OPT. In order to qualify for the the 24-month STEM extension, the F-1 student’s field of study’s CIP (Classification of Instructional programs) code has to be included on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree program List.

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.  We simplified the law to provide general information about one aspect of employment for F-1 students.  If you would like to discuss if you qualify for STEM OPT or what are employment options in the U.S. you may have, schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer in Phoenix at www.calendly.com/irena-3 today or call our office at 480-425-2009! We look forward to talking with you!